My favorite things about the holidays are both tangible and intangible. My mom's food can be touched, smelled, seen, felt, and eaten. It's a physical thing. However, the emotions it awakens and the good feelings it evokes go beyond my temporal senses.

When I see my sister Tara, I will always remember how we were way too smart for my mom and dad to keep presents hidden. We knew every nook and cranny of the house, their schedules, how to put things back exactly they were. We also both realized that we sort of ruined the fun when we opened our gifts and had to act like we didn't know what we were getting. Still, we were an unstoppable duo. She was my partner in mischief, and I can see that in the way she handles her kids now. They don't get away with much.

When I see my sister Wendy, I always think of how she helped me understand how to appreciate the things that I received. We were very lucky, and might be even luckier now, and when I see her around the holidays, she's the same person as the little girl who was so wise and taught me so much.

When I see my Mom, I think of how living with her was like Christmas all year. She still somehow managed to take it up a notch around the holidays and make me feel even more special (God only knows how).

When I look at my Dad, I think of the pride he felt for giving us such amazing Christmas Eve's and Day's. He grew up in a town called Mine 40, and it's not as nice as it sounds. To enjoy the abundance of this life had to be pretty excellent for him. We had delicious food, a warm house, a lot of love and very bright futures.

When I see my wife over the holidays, that's when the spirit of the holiday season really hits me. Her love can't be wrapped or explained. That's the feeling. The true appreciation for the blessings in my life is my favorite thing about the holidays.